17 Feb 5 Ways That One Word Will Change Your Life

In improvisational comedy, there is the golden rule “Yes, and…” You agree to what the person before you said and add something of value to the scene. We can all learn a bit from improvisation; if we respond with “no,” we close all of the doors. When we say “yes,” we open ourselves up to possibility.

There is so much written about why women should say no – say no to volunteering, say no to the book club, say no to the dinner invitation – “You already have too much on your plate!” the advice screams. Yet while most of us are busier than ever before, it is also the case that many of us are a little bit stuck – in lackluster relationships, monotonous lives or in career prospects.

What if the answer to these problems lies in one word?

The thing about “yes” is that it is a word ripe for expansion. A rich life and a yes attitude go hand in hand.

Here are five ways that saying yes will improve your professional and personal life:

1. Revealing Opportunities

Joan Rivers famously said, “I was smart enough to go through any door that opened.” When you say “no” – to the new position or the promotion, the chance might not arise again. Operate from the open door philosophy and a world of opportunity is in front of you. Deloitte’s first female CEO, Cathy Engelbert, recently shared that the best advice she ever received was to say yes to new challenges because varied experiences build a great leader.

Jenny Craig Britt, a teacher in Brooklyn, tells the story of saying yes to the challenge of working in several different grades. “Teachers generally don’t want to switch grades. My principal encouraged me and a few years later I got a position in a higher paying private school based on all of my experience.”

2. Instilling Confidence

When the position opened up to become President of Black Women Lawyers of Los Angeles, Deputy District Attorney Shannon Humphrey struggled with whether to apply. She already had a full time job and little time. As she explains it, “I wrestled with the decision for about two months. I had already been on the Board of Directors for three years and it had been time-consuming.” But friends convinced her that if she was to leave the organization, she should leave on top.

Humphrey applied, won the position and hasn’t looked back since. As she describes it, “I stepped up to lead the 200 plus women in the organization who range from judges to law firm partners to corporate executives and public servants, all with their sharp, efficient ways of leading. It’s literally a sisterhood of brilliance. It’s no doubt grueling and tough, but I expect I’ll look back on this as the best growth I’ve ever had.”

3. Opening Your Heart

Darcy Marshall of Texas says “I said yes to a date after a very unexpected, ugly divorce. We have been married for two years and I couldn’t be happier!” And based on matchmaker Samantha Daniels’ experience, this is no surprise. “I find that the clients who are more willing to say ‘yes’ about a match and are more willing to give people a chance are the ones who have more success in dating and tend to end up married.”

4. Unleashing Talent

One of the best paths to getting unstuck is to acquire new skills. Samantha Patterson, a loss mitigation manager for a New Jersey mortgage company said “yes” to Lean Six Sigma business training and will be starting her green belt training next month, “I see things in my professional life so much clearer now and I feel like I can accomplish anything.”

5. Increasing Happiness

We tend to say no to new things out of fear but there are no rewards without risk. Research shows that people who have a broader array of experiences are happier; trying new things and expanding our experiences leads to a more fulfilling life. Candice Tropiano-Antonelli said yes to relocating her family for a promotion from Connecticut to California and says she couldn’t be happier. “It has been such an exciting family adventure.”


To read this article on Forbes, please click here.

Samantha Ettus is a bestselling author & corporate speaker. The Pie Life: A Guilt-Free Recipe for Success and Satisfaction will be released in September.